Through creations of abstract oil compositions, mixed media flowers and impressionistic landscapes, local artists aim to positively impact the community.

“This is some small way to give back to the community. It’s just so easy to be able to donate a piece of art,” contributing artist Amy Tubbs said.

Across Decatur, art auctions raise funds for nonprofit organizations every year. Over the years, artists donated pieces to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer, to support women battling breast cancer and to research heart disease.

Tonight, professional and amateur artists will use their talents to benefit a nonprofit organization that reaches thousands of people every year. Paintings for a Purpose, a fundraiser for the Volunteer Center of Morgan County, will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at High Point Market in downtown Decatur.

“I’m actually more motivated to complete a piece if someone says they need something for a benefit auction, more so than if I’m just painting for myself,” Tubbs said.

For Paintings for a Purpose, Tubbs, who has donated pieces to the American Heart Association’s Art for Heart, the Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation’s Gala and Brushstrokes for Breast Cancer, created a mixed media image of white zinnias in a pink vase from textured paper and paint.

The piece celebrates the Decatur Heritage Christian Academy teacher’s love of art — the colors, shapes and textures.

“What captures my eye and makes me want to paint an image is shape, color and texture. That’s what I’m all about,” Tubbs said. “I am very visual. Everything I look at, I take it apart, take it down to its basic shape and build it back up. When I look at flowers, I’m looking at what shapes are inside the petals and the stem. To me, what I do almost feels more crafty than artsy.”

A relatively latecomer to art, Tubbs, an Austin High graduate, took her first art class — a requirement for the communications degree she initially hoped to earn — at the University of Alabama.

“I used to doodle all the time and I knew I could draw, but I never thought of pursuing a degree in art until that first class. After that class, I took every art class I could. I was exposed to so much and had some amazing teachers; it just woke me up to the art world,” said Tubbs, who earned degrees in art and advertising.

Now, as an art teacher, Tubbs hopes to pass down the fascination and love for art instilled in her by professors Alvin Sella, who taught her drawing, and Richard Brough, who taught her graphic design, to her elementary, middle and high school students.

This year, Tubbs’ students will create pieces using glass, clay, painted paper and more. Rather than discussing her own art, which she described as “mosaic collages,” Tubbs, who began her 18th year of teaching last week, concentrated on her students’ creations.

She pointed to the warthog-shaped coil pot sitting on top of a cabinet and the grid drawings of birds stacked on the shelves.

“Teaching is so much fun. Any art teacher will tell you that. You give guidelines, teach a technique and then step back and watch what the kids come up with. They amaze me all the time. This is the best job, hands down,” Tubbs said.

Along with Tubbs, featured artists at Paintings for a Purpose include Christa Anderson, Robert Belcher, Clara Blackwell, Sheree Brown, Brette Burnes, Shannon Fulenwider, Rickie Higgins, Jess Lovelace, Joy Martin, Tracy McCann, Melissa McCulloch, DeAnn Meely, Ginny Pylant, Mary Reed, Glenda Sartain, Mallie Sedlak, Kristen Shumake, Beth Sartain Stanley, Betsy Stark, Tara Stone, Amber Stuart, Alisha Winchester and Marshall Wise.

All proceeds from the auction will go to the Volunteer Center of Morgan County.

“The need is great in our community,” said Casey Coleman, director of the Volunteer Center. “On a daily basis, we have people calling for help. We get a lot of calls from elderly people who physically can’t mow their grass, can’t paint their shutters and can’t do small home repairs.”

Founded in 1971, the Volunteer Center partners individuals and organizations in need of assistance with families, businesses and churches interested in volunteering.

The center’s reach extends across the county: providing air conditioners and heaters for low-income residents, distributing Christmas gifts to children and youth, building wheelchair ramps, mowing lawns, cutting down trees, coordinating United Way’s Day of Caring, serving at Decatur Morgan Hospital’s Dragon Boat competition and Mosaic Mentoring’s Wet Dog Triathlon, assisting with Can-a-Thon and Barrels of Love, running Cinderella’s Closet and manning the reception center for Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Admission to Paintings for a Purpose is free and includes appetizers and a cash bar. For more information on the Volunteer Center, visit or 256-340-2441. Twitter @DecaturLiving.
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